The Q&A Archives: Cottony Scales on Cactus

Question: I have a few cactus plants that keep getting infested with cottony scales. I have tried two or more products from a nursery but they keep coming back. If I press on the bugs there is purple color that comes out of them. Do you have any ideas how I can get rid of them?

Answer: Large populations of scale insects are really difficult to control, but if you keep at it, you can eliminate the pests. There are crawler stages and adult stages. What you are seeing is the adult stage with the protective covering. You might want to get some horticultural oil and Q-tips. Dip the end of the Q-tip in the oil and dab it on the individual adults. Be sure to hit them all. This oil kills by eliminating the insect?s air supply.

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